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With substitute teachers unable to access secure work the NI executive have announced an income support scheme to support them during the Covid-19 emergency. The estimated total cost of the scheme will be around £12m with £8M coming from the Department of Education and £4M from the Executive.

MLA Cathal Boylan  has welcomed the funding package. The Newry & Armagh MLA  said: "I welcome today's announcement of a £4 million funding package by my party colleague, Finance Minister Conor Murphy, to support substitute teachers who are struggling as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

"With schools closed in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep people safe, many substitute teachers are struggling financially through loss of income. Substitute teachers play a key role in our schools and should be supported thought this current health emergency."

Education Minister Peter Weir said "The scheme will ensure that eligible substitute teachers, engaged between 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020, will have access to an income for the period April to June 2020. They will receive an additional income through this scheme which will top up their income to at least 80% of that earned in the period January to March 2020."

Edit 5pm 21/5 addition

Newry and Armagh Alliance representative Jackie Coade has welcomed the recent decision relating to pay for substitute teachers. The Department of Education recently announced a hardship fund for sub teachers who may not qualify for furlough following the Covid 19 Pandemic. The NI Executive has created a £12m fund to assist substitute teachers during the Covid-19 crisis. Finance Minister Conor Murphy says £8m has come from the Department of Education and there will be £4m from the Department of Finance.

Speaking on the issue Miss Coade stated: “I have been approached locally by teachers in the Newry and Armagh area who have expressed concerns and worry as they are struggling financially as a result of the Covid 19 crisis. It is important that the Department of Education supports these people who are essentially out of work due to Covid 19 and schools now closed until at least September they may struggle further. Therefore I welcome the announcement of £12 million to support teachers.”

Miss Coade who is a teacher herself has also noted that when schools closed in March, about 3,800 teachers who worked on a regular short-term or daily basis were left without any income. 

Miss Coade added: “We have a lot of schools within the Newry and Armagh constituency and therefore a lot of sub teachers and those who have contacted me have indicated that they have been struggling lately.

My Colleague Chris Lyttle MLA has raised this issue with the Executive and the Alliance Party stands with Substitute Teachers. This money is very welcome and will go a long way to help these teachers and give them a real sense of confidence and relief.”

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